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  • GDC 2007, Indie Game Summit Notes, Day 2…

    Posted on March 6th, 2007 IndieGamePod No comments

    Hey folks,

    We’re going to do something different. I’m going to post notes from the GDC here. I’ve also noticed a couple “emerging” trends discussed amongst the casual/indie developers and will do a mini-tutorial on the topics.

    In any case….here is day one…
    At the GDC checking out various indie game, casual game, and serious game sessions.

    Attended a serious games session on doing MMOs. This applies to the indie scene because some of the indie/casual gaming sessions had the “big players” talking about their future strategies involving MMOs.

    At this serious games MMO session, mentions some of the non-WOW (World of Warcraft) MMOs that do well online. This includes kid MMOs like clubpenguin.com, whyville.net, and other types of MMOs like Habbo Hotel.

    The important thing to take away from the session is the concept that making an MMO
    is much easier now than before. For example, ClubPenguin is a simple flash MMO. It uses SmartFoxServer as the backend and flash for the client. It is important to note that there is a free version of SmartFoxServer for small MMOs.

    I’ve used SmartFoxServer and it’s well documented. The other main benefit of flash MMOs is that IT IS ACCESSIBLE THROUGH A BROWSER. There is no installation required so the casual gamer can easily enter an MMO (without all the hassle of installing, etc.).

    I think this is a key feature. In an unpublished interview with Joe Lieberman, he mentioned the idea of an emerging new market of “casual MMOs”…so this a space that indie game developers may want to check out.

    The next session attended was “Making an Indie MMO” by the Three Rings Founder, Daniel James.

    Three Rings made the game “Puzzle Pirates.”

    In any case, he talks mainly about changing business models helping to increase revenues.

    For example, Puzzle Pirates initially had a monthly subscription. They switched to a
    micro-payments model…where a user makes micropayments for buying a hat or coat within the game.

    This seems to add up and has raised revenue significantly.

    There was a Q&A; session and one of the folks asked about developing an MMO in Java vs. Flash. Puzzle Pirates was done in Java, their future MMOs may be done in flash.

    Afterwards, I attended some Casual Games Summit sessions. Most of the stuff rehashes things indie game developers know. There were two interesting things mentioned…
    a) MMOs could be an emerging trend
    b) A lot of the casual games company see mobile games as very important to their strategy.

    A person from PopCap mentioned that they use the web to get the game out and start the distrution process and then use mobile as another effective medium to generate revenues and gain exposure.

    Finally, attended a session on “How to Start a Casual Games Company”…
    the session had a few folks starting a game company. At the end, one of the PopCap representatives mentioned a list of potential business ideas they see as huge opportunities…here are some of them:
    1) Creating a backend for business reporting and other issues that arise from the need for information interchange between developers and publishers. He said, there is a need for someone to be the “SAP for Casual Games.”

    2) There are huge needs for innovative ways to market Casual Games; new viral marketing ideas

    3) A need for a company to do high-end contract work. For example, PopCap may make a game and need to port it to other platforms. They need someone that can do this well.

    That’s the end of Day 1. Will post notes from Day 2….

    Take care,


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